Archaeological Survey in Riverfront Park Begins Monday, July 18

Fianna Dickson 509.625.6297

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 4:53 p.m.

Archaeological testing is being conducted beginning Monday, July 18 as part of site preparation for Riverfront Park redevelopment. It will last two to four weeks.

The archaeology survey will document underground historic materials within the construction footprint of the Recreational Rink Ice Ribbon and SkyRide Facility in the Gondola Meadow to avoid unnecessary damage to important historic materials without proper documentation and recovery, and to comply with necessary historic preservation laws and regulations.

The archaeological survey and testing project is a collaboration of the Spokane Tribe of Indians Preservation Program and the Fort Walla Walla Museum under contract by the City of Spokane. This work is being conducted under a 2016 permit issued by the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Other areas of the park will undergo similar testing prior to construction.

The area now known as the Gondola Meadow on the corner of Spokane Falls Blvd. and Post St. was inhabited for millennia by the Spokane Tribe of Indians and their ancestors, specifically the Upper Spokane Band. Spokane Falls was a significant fishery for salmon, steelhead and other native fish. The traditional name of Spokane Falls is sgxetj meaning “Fast Water.”

Later, this area contained many buildings including hotels and boarding houses, a saloon and a carpenter shop until the fire of 1889. After the fire, a blacksmith and wagon shop filled the space and soon expanded to include a machine shop. A six-story building with storage, office space, printing, and repair shops developed.

In 1914, the railroad placed tracks on the southern edge of the site. By 1925 the site was completely leveled and used as a parking lot as the railroad and industry grew. In 1973, the area was transformed into the site of Expo ’74, followed by Riverfront Park as it is today.